Help – a confused multilingual talent

Languages: German, Dutch, English, French, Italian AND European?
Nationality: German, Dutch and/or European?
 
Being globally minded, I have lived and worked in 5 countries. I met new people, tried to find (voluntary) work, and studied the language of my host country of the time. I covered more or less all levels: native speaker/mother tongue/fluent/advanced/basic/supported by hands & feet/non verbal.
 
To be honest I am not fluent in, nor do I master for 100%, any of these 5 languages I speak – not even my mother-tongue any more. In the beginning I didn’t dare to commit myself sufficiently. I was shy and defensive. I was embarrassed, even with people who spoke no other language and/or had never been abroad other than for their Summer holidays on a typical Dutch/German/EU/US camp site J.
Now? Well I’m proud of speaking these languages in my own Eva-way. It’s a mixture of all the languages with a personal touch. Perhaps I’m a pioneer, developing a common European language, who knows!
 
Vocabulary, grammar, ‘sayings’ are (and were) the easiest things to learn. If you have enough time to practice and if you dare to speak and make mistakes. The biggest problem for me is the rules for punctuation – in any language. Where to put all those punctuation marks, and when, in which language! I totally ‘lost it’ and developed my own ‘European’ punctuation rules. Whenever it feels good I choose a punctuation symbol – no consistency or correctness at all. Sorry, dear native speaker, I don’t wish to hurt you! It’s just that I ‘couldn’t see the wood for the trees’ and it takes a lot of time and effort to learn to use the right punctuation  marks/’leestekens’.
 
I realize that, as I write, there are more important issues going on in Europe but, maybe some day, some how, we could work on a simplified European punctuation system J. That would help a lot.
 
Do you recognise yourself in the above? Please let me know how you deal with multilingual & punctuation confusions. Any tips & tricks are welcome.

 

Sign up for a free Skype orientation session with the expert in expat careers. Global online career and job orientation: whenever – wherever you are; in English, German or Dutch.

Amstelveen-20120921-00379

 

 

‘I can’t believe THAT!’ said Alice

‘Can’t you?’ the Queen said in a pitying tone. ‘Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.’

Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’

I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast’.

Chapter 5 – Wool & Water, Alice in Wonderland

follow me on follow Eva Kempinger - Expats@Work on Twitter
  • T